By: Gerry Loughran – Nation Media -Excerpt-
The commitment to African majority rule was no accident. Back in 1957, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims worldwide, had been talking with young African nationalists such as Tom Mboya and Julius Kiano about what lay in Kenya’s future. The Aga Khan assumed leadership of his community at the age of 20 on the death of his grandfather. Having lived in a Nairobi suburb as a boy, his association with the country was no accident. This young man was well aware that most newspapers in East Africa tended to be mouthpieces of the colonial governments, denying any platform for the aspirations of upcoming African politicians. Believing they were entitled to a full say in the independence debate, he determined to start a newspaper that would be open to all voices. The Aga Khan’s media aide at the time was Michael Curtis, a former editor of the News Chronicle in London, and it was he who became the architect of a group which grew eventually to dominate the East and Central African publishing market.